Abortion

The Center for Reproductive Rights works to protect and advance abortion rights around the world by removing restrictive laws and policies, promoting measures to improve access to safe and legal abortion, and countering efforts to undermine access to abortion care.

Summary

Human rights bodies and courts worldwide recognize that abortion care is essential health care and a critical aspect of women and girls’ fundamental human rights. Everyone has the right to accessible, high-quality abortion care and no one should be criminalized for seeking or accessing abortion services. In recent decades, more than 50 countries have liberalized their abortion laws, recognizing the importance of reproductive autonomy in women’s lives.

Yet throughout the world, legal, policy and other barriers continue to undermine access to abortion care. Restrictive abortion laws and other barriers push abortion underground, increase rates of unsafe abortion, and delay access to essential and time-sensitive care. By disproportionately harming low-income and marginalized communities, these laws and policies exacerbate social inequality.

To protect and expand abortion rights and access, the Center seeks to overturn restrictive abortion laws, repeal procedural barriers, defend women imprisoned under restrictive abortion laws, and advocate against rollbacks of abortion rights and for measures to enhance access to abortion care. The Center has fought and won groundbreaking abortion cases before national courts including the U.S. Supreme Court, United Nations committees, and regional human rights courts and bodies.

Key Facts

25.1 million

Unsafe abortions are performed each year worldwide.

50

Countries have liberalized their abortion laws over the past 25 years.

41%

Of women of reproductive age still live in countries with restrictive abortion laws.

Work and Cases

Explore highlights of the Center’s work to improve abortion rights and access.

Updated in real time, this interactive tool shows the legal status of abortion in countries across the globe.

Seeking justice for a Salvadoran woman sentenced to 30 years in prison.

In June Medical v. Russo, the Supreme Court follows precedent in protecting abortion rights and access.

Publications

Improving Access to Abortion in Crisis Settings card link

Improving Access to Abortion in Crisis Settings

This tool is designed to help program planners and organizations understand abortion law and manage legal risk when providing or supporting access to abortion for people who are displaced by crisis. Read more.

Unsafe Abortion in Tanzania card link

Unsafe Abortion in Tanzania

A Center report examining Tanzania’s restrictive policies and recommending policies for legal access. Read more.

Challenging Institutional Stigma Against Abortion Care in Kenya card link

Challenging Institutional Stigma Against Abortion Care in Kenya

Challenging attempts to limit constitutionally guaranteed abortion care. Read more.

European Abortion Laws:  A Comparative Overview card link

European Abortion Laws: A Comparative Overview

This fact sheet provides an overview of abortion laws and policies in all 47 European countries and a range of visual tools for analyzing European abortion laws. Read more.

Protecting Reproductive Health in Times of COVID (Spanish) card link

Protecting Reproductive Health in Times of COVID (Spanish)

A joint effort by 14 Latin American organizations, this website outlines five tools to protect reproductive health in times of COVID-19. Learn more.

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